"Let nobody by any means deceive you! For it shall in no way (ean mee) come — except first the falling away; and the man of sin [or lawlessness] be unveiled." Such is "the son of perdition, who keeps on opposing and keeps on
exalting himself against all that is called God or is worshipped — so that he like a god keeps on going into the temple of God to be seated [or enthroned] there, claiming to be divine [or while claiming to reign in the place of God or to represent God]. Don't you remember that when I was still with you — I told you these things?
"And now, you know what keeps on holding back [the unveiling of the man of sin or lawlessness], so that he might be unveiled at his time. For the mystery of lawlessness [of the man of sin or lawlessness] already keeps on working.
"Only, he who now keeps on holding back [the unveiling of the man of sin or lawlessness — will keep on holding back] until he [who keeps on holding him back] be out of the way. And then shall the lawless one be unveiled, whom the Lord shall consume with the Spirit of His mouth and shall destroy with the manifestation of His presence — him whose presence is according to the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them who perish — because they did not receive the love of the truth, so that they might be saved."3914
Now this "man of sin" or "man of lawlessness" would be unveiled some time after Paul wrote his Second Epistle to the Thessalonian Christians in A.D. 51. But what power would falsely claim to be divine (or to represent God) — yet itself be destroyed by the Spirit of the Lord's mouth and with the manifestation of His presence?
We answer this question in four stages, showing the following. First, this "man of sin" was already embryonically present when Paul wrote to the Thessalonians in 51 A.D. Second, the "man of sin" would only begin to persecute Christians in earnest after another equally wellknown power (a restraining power that kept on holding back the unveiling of the man of sin) had been removed. Third, the "man of sin" in its initial phases is altogether compatible with its identification as the power of Heathen Rome. Fourth, Heathen Rome was only the start but not at all the end of the development of "the man of sin" — for it is clear that Pagan Rome would be succeeded by Papal Rome in its place.3937
First. This "man of sin" or lawlessness was already embryonically present while Paul was writing to the Thessalonians in 51 A.D. For, wrote Paul, even then the secret of evil alias "the mystery of lawlessness already keeps on working."3915
Indeed, Paul had already told the Thessalonians about
these things when he was previously with them in A.D. 49 while the Church was being established there amid persecution.3916 This helps identify the "man of sin" or lawlessness — at least in his first phases — as the antinomian human head of the Pagan Roman Empire that was still spreading out during that first century A.D.
It had indeed been the unbelieving apostates or the "fallen away" Thessalonian Judaists, who had initially stirred up the thug element among the unbelieving Thessalonian Gentiles — against Jason and his fellowbelievers. Yet the Judaistic indictment against the Thessalonian Christians had nevertheless been that all Christians had "turned the [Roman] World upside down”; and that they “all act contrarily to the decrees of Caesar, saying that there is another king — one Jesus.” As a result of that indictment, “the rulers of the city [being agents of the Roman Emperor], when they heard these things," took "security from Jason." Acts 17:5-7.